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freelance writer

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Fun Facts about Lisa

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» Before I decided I really could be a full-time writer, I had the following jobs (in no particular order): Life Coach, Web Designer, Systems Analyst, Computer Programmer, Executive Secretary, Plant-Watering Person for a corporate landscape company, Pharmacy Assistant, Cosmetics Salesgirl at Macy's... and for one very long summer in high school, I worked in a kids' shoe store (worst job EVER).

» My first short story was entitled "Rich Munk, Poor Munk" about two chipmunks. I think I was around 10 years old, maybe 12, when I wrote it. I even illustrated it. (I am not a very good artist.) I had actually forgotten all about it until I realized my mother had saved it. It was, and still is, terrible; cute, but terrible.

» I've never been able to consistently keep a journal or diary for more than a couple of months at a time, ever. I saved one journal I wrote in sporadically throughout high school, and it's just embarrassing, as all journals written by hormone-crazed teenage girls seem to be. Blogging is the closest I've ever come to "journalling" (since 2005 and still going strong in my 10th year!), but for some reason I love it and it feels effortless to me.

» When I used to work in the corporate world as a web designer, my then-boss once told me "If I could write the way you write, and I knew what you know about the Internet, I'd quit this @#%&$-ing place and write a book". I laughed and accused him of trying to get me to quit so he wouldn't have to pay me unemployment. But he was the first person who ever seriously suggested I was good enough to write books. And the idea kind of stuck with me after that.

» I played the xylophone in the high school marching band. Yep, I was a total band geek. And I loved every minute of it... totally worth the bad back and knees I have today. I also sang in the chorus and played the piano in the school jazz band, and performed in a few high school/community theatre musicals. I secretly wanted to be one of those kids in "Fame"!

» I once sang "Piano Man" at an open-mike night at a local restaurant where all the waiters were also the entertainment staff; they'd take turns singing show tunes and ballads in between waiting on customers. I got job offer on the spot, which I thought was really cool, but turned it down because I had a day job and didn't want to wait tables at night. Still, it was nice to be asked. If I could magically have the talent to be anything other than a writer, I'd want to be a professional singer.

»Despite my loving to perform in front of an audience, I had a real phobia about public speaking for many years. I blame my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. S, for giving me the lowest grade on our first oral report, when I got picked to go first out of the whole class. It made me terrifed to speak in public for years. Teachers don't play fair sometimes.

»I started obsessing about wanting to go to France when I was around 12 or 13, and no one -- including me -- could figure out why. No one we knew had ever traveled abroad much less been to France! In the 8th grade, we had to pick a foreign language to study, and against pressure from the adults around me to take Spanish (because it was more "practical" -- like I cared about THAT), I chose French. Guess who was right?

»Jobs/careers I had during the 25 years I was trying to AVOID being a writer: drug-store clerk, shoe salesgirl, cosmetics salesgirl, secretary, computer programmer, systems analyst, web designer, pharmacy technician, life & career coach. But I never worked at a fast-food place or as a waitress.

»I finally came to Paris for the first time when I was 38, for just a weekend during a two-week business trip to Frankfurt, Germany. Just as I'd always expected, it was love at first sight between me and Paris.

» I came back again two years later, for my 40th birthday, and got pickpocketed on the metro just off the Champs Elysees. I didn't hold it against Paris, though; true love never fades, no matter what.

» French bureaucrats have been known to make me cry in frustration. Which would piss me off except that sometimes, it seems to end up working to my advantage; they see you crying and suddenly become much more helpful just to get the crazy crying American out of their offices.

» My husband and I had a first date that lasted 26 hours. Yes, really. That's what love at first sight will do to two otherwise rational adults who "weren't really looking for anything serious". It really is true: when you know, you know.

» I didn't read Jane Austen until I was more than 40. Now, she's my favorite author. Of her works, my top picks are Pride and Prejudice and Emma. I also quite like Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. The others don't quite "wow" me as much, but still... it's Jane, and she can do no wrong. In 2013 I finally took a trip to the southwest of England, where I was able to visit Jane's burial site in Winchester Cathedral and pay homage to one of the world's greatest female authors. I should be so fortunate, to have people still wanting to read MY work in 200 years.

» In August 2013, I reached a major milestone in my new French life: I became a French citizen! I now hold dual U.S.-French nationality. To learn more about some of what it takes to live in France for more than 90 days, citizen or not, read this article on my blog.

» The thing that has probably MOST surprised me about my new French life is how much I love being a step-mother to my husband's three children. Especially because, before I met my husband, I was pretty firm in thinking I didn't want to end up with a man who was still raising kids. Although two of them were teenagers when I met them and they are now young adults finishing their advanced degrees, and the youngest is now a middle-schooler who will soon be taller than I am, being a part of their young lives has unexpectedly become one of the things I am most proud of in my life. I may write jokingly or fictionally about "horrible step-children", but in reality "my" kids are awesome, and I adore them.

» And... I watch Little House on the Prairie reruns and I cry at nearly every episode. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

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